Articles Posted in Divorce

When the court orders you to do something as part of your divorce, the best plan of action is to do as the order demands. Sometimes, though, questions may still remain regarding whether or not you’ve complied with the order. If you haven’t, the possibility of being found in contempt of court arises. Be aware, though, that there are special rules that govern when a judge can and cannot find you in contempt and, if the judge has not followed the proper procedures, you can, with the help of a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer, get that contempt finding tossed out.

A lot of times, when a couple with children goes through a divorce, child-related issues are at the forefront. Sometimes, though, that is not the case. Sometimes, items of property are the things about which the spouses contest most heavily.

Those issues can become heated, especially if the items in dispute are rare or unique. A recent Baltimore County divorce case is a good example of this. The couple was the parents of two boys, but the children were not what produced the most litigation. Rather, five items of personal property were.

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There are several factual scenarios that potentially can complicate your divorce. One of these is when you and your spouse separate (and remain that way) for decades before seeking a divorce. Another is when one spouse in a long-separated-but-not-divorced couple comes into significant wealth. These are but two examples among the many. Almost any divorce has its unique elements that can pose challenges, though, which is why it is well worth your time and effort to retain a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer to represent you in your case.

In the United States, late November is a special time to reflect and be thankful for the good things in our lives. Those sources of gratefulness could be everything from finding a new love to continued good health to… winning the lottery.

The joy that can come from “striking it rich” may be lessened, though, if you have an estranged spouse in your life. That was the scenario on the mind of one wife who wrote to the publication The Penny Hoarder recently. The wife left her husband in 1990, but the two never divorced, according to her letter. In recent months, the wife received information that her estranged husband may have won a large lottery prize, and her letter to the publication centered on her options for getting a portion of those lottery winnings.

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When, it comes to marriages, relationships, and divorces, some issues and situations are universal, as a recent divorce case from overseas demonstrates. Even though this court case came from India, much of the circumstances involved could easily have happened in Maryland. While those marital scenarios and pitfalls may be largely universal, the law definitely is not. The distinctions and differences between the law of one place versus another are a crucial reason why having an experienced Maryland divorce attorney on your side is essential when you are seeking to end your marriage in this state.

The Indian case, reported by CNBC TV18, involved a marriage that reportedly was troubled nearly from the start. The spouses became estranged “within a few months of marriage,” then one of the spouses met someone new and that pair began “staying together in a live-in relationship,” according to the report.

The new couple had many questions. Could they continue living together while the divorce was pending? Could they get married before the divorce judgment was finalized? According to Indian law, this Indian couple could continue living together, but they could not get married before the finalization of the divorce without placing the married partner in potential legal peril for bigamy.

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Failing to obtain experienced legal counsel is often a mistake in a divorce case, even if you and your spouse are seeking to resolve the matter by agreement. That’s especially true if your spouse has retained an attorney. Your skilled Maryland divorce lawyer can help you assess whether or not the agreement proposed to you is genuinely fair to you, and whether or not a judge might award you significantly more if you litigated the matter. Your attorney can also help you identify harmful provisions in the agreement that might be unenforceable under either Maryland family law or Maryland contract law.

Proceeding on your own, especially if your spouse has legal representation, can expose you to serious risks. Take, as an example, the divorce case of C.G. and K.G., a Maryland couple with no children who decided to end their decade-long marriage in 2018.

By early 2019, the couple had mutually worked out a marital settlement that divided their property.

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In many walks of life, it is said that “timing is everything.” In the law, timing isn’t everything, but it definitely can be a crucial thing. Get your timing wrong in carrying out some procedural step in your case and that incorrect timing may have disastrous consequences. This is just another one (among the countless) reasons why, when your divorce is going through the legal process, you need a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer from beginning to end.

As a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when your timing is not correct, there’s this recent divorce case that originated in Prince George’s County. The couple litigated their divorce in 2020 and, on Jan. 7, 2021, the judge granted an absolute divorce. The divorce judgment also covered the marital home (ordering the wife to transfer her interest to the husband,) child custody, and child support.

The judgment did not, however, say how much child support the wife was required to pay the husband each month.

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There is a massive array of reasons why it pays to have an experienced Maryland divorce lawyer representing you throughout your case. Many of these are things that you could list off the top of your head. One that you may not immediately think of — but can be hugely important in a divorce or divorce-related case — is perspective. Namely, a viewpoint that is objective, calm, and always rational. If yours is a divorce where emotions are high, that’s when you need your cool-headed and clear-minded legal counsel the most.

The potential to get into trouble — even legal trouble — in a moment of high emotion and rash behavior is higher than ever in this modern world of the Internet and social media. Such was the case for one woman in British Columbia.

According to the CBC, the woman was a plastic surgery patient who was displeased with the result of her breast augmentation procedure, as the final result allegedly left her bust in a lopsided condition.

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Some people may convince themselves that they do not need a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer to handle their case. They may assume that, because they and their spouse do not dispute most issues, or because they do not have many assets, or because their case does not seem to involve anything that implicates complex issues of law, they can handle it themselves. That kind of thinking is something that you should avoid, as it could be incredibly costly to you. Some divorcing spouses think they can’t afford to hire an attorney. More likely, you can’t afford not to.

Here’s a real-life example of how it can go wrong. In June 2019, V. M.-J. filed for divorce. The case went to trial that November and the spouses didn’t have attorneys. The court’s judgment gave the husband 15% of the wife’s government pension and ordered the wife to transfer her interest in the home to the husband, conditioned on his refinancing the home solely in his own name within 90 days.

Dissatisfied with the outcome, the wife appealed. Her appellate argument was that the trial judge made a mistake in distributing the home and her pension because the husband did not file any court pleadings asking for these things.

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Prenuptial agreements can be an important part of a couple’s pre-marital planning. Obviously, if you’re going to the trouble to create and execute a prenuptial agreement, you want to be sure that the prenuptial agreement you have is something that, if it is eventually needed, will be enforced by the courts. A skilled Maryland divorce lawyer can help you in setting up your prenuptial agreement to get something that will meet the law’s requirements and do what it is supposed to do.

Here in Maryland, there are several ways that a prenuptial agreement may fail to qualify to be enforced. A recent case from Montgomery County is an example of how the process can go wrong and lead to an invalid agreement.

G.H. and H.H. were a couple who married in the summer of 2011. It was his third marriage and her second. According to the wife, the husband did not bring up anything about a prenuptial agreement until roughly one week before the wedding day. The agreement that the husband presented to the wife was written by the husband’s lawyer and was composed in English, a language with which the wife allegedly had limited skills.

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If you’ve followed the news coverage of the divorce of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, you’ve likely seen headlines, everywhere from People to Business Insider, stating that Melinda has declared her marriage to Bill to be “irretrievably broken.” The headlines blare as if the readers are getting some new and surprising insight into the state of the Gateses’ marriage. As any knowledgeable Maryland divorce lawyer will tell you, though, the reality is actually something much more mundane.

People outside the legal world sometimes misunderstand how the legal process works. They may see language included in a party’s pleading and think that it is particularly unique, insightful, or shocking when actually, it is just form language that is required by the rules that the law has erected. The stories about the Gateses’ divorce make for one very good example of that.

Melinda Gates filed for divorce in her hometown of Seattle. Washington is a state that recognizes no-fault divorce. In states like these, the spouse who files for divorce doesn’t need proof that the other spouse was “at fault” (such as, for example, being unfaithful, being excessively cruel, being insane or imprisoned, or deserting the filing spouse.)

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Sometimes, a divorce case may be something that is straightforward and involves mostly the resolution of factual issues. Other times, your divorce case may feel like a chess match with a series of dueling procedural moves. Whether your case looks more like the former or the latter, it can benefit from the skillful representation provided by an experienced Maryland divorce lawyer. The right attorney can help you to present your strongest possible factual case and avoid being sidetracked by the other side’s procedural moves.

One of the many decisions that must be made in any divorce case is where to file. Once you’ve made your choice and filed your petition, your spouse is generally not allowed to defeat that by turning around and filing his/her own divorce petition in another county.

Here’s an example. In early August 2019, a Maryland man filed for limited divorce in Baltimore County. Less than six weeks later, the wife filed for absolute divorce in Montgomery County.

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